School-based considerations

The child protection education curriculum support materials are designed to guide teachers through syllabus implementation using effective teaching and learning approaches for sensitive content. There are some important considerations for schools before delivering child protection education.

Planning and programming support

When planning and programming for effective child protection and respectful relationships education programs it is important to:

  • review the content of sensitive or controversial material to ensure it is appropriate to the development, experiences and cultural values of their students
  • allow for progressive learning that is reinforced over the school years
  • deliver this sensitive content at a time in the school year when respect and trust has been developed between students and with the teacher. If the unit includes content regarding abuse and signs of abuse, it is advised this content is not taught in mid to late-term 4. If the delivery of this content resulted in a student disclosure, teaching it late in the year prevents adequate follow-up
  • integrate content within the related content areas of PDHPE rather than teach in isolation
  • select activities, teaching and learning strategies and resources that best meet the needs of your students and match your school’s PDHPE program.

Key questions to focus on the process of programming include:

  • What do the students currently know and can do?
  • What do students need to know and be able to do?
  • How will students learn this?
  • How will students demonstrate their learning?

Selecting teaching and learning activities and resources

The department does not mandate teaching and learning materials, resources or programs.

Principals and teachers are empowered to make these decisions at a local level. These decisions are made based on student needs and community context and resources. Below are some considerations when selecting resources and teaching and learning materials.

  • Preview and evaluate all strategies, resources and teaching and learning approaches in full before use with students to determine suitability for student learning needs, stage of development and local school context.
  • Consider the age, maturity, cultural background, sexuality, gender, sex, health and other characteristics of students in your care.
  • Apply professional judgements to all strategies, teaching and learning approaches and resources including audiovisual materials (for example, videos, media clips and YouTube), interactive web-based content (for example, games, quizzes and websites) and texts.
  • Seek endorsement by the school principal before use of materials in NSW government schools.
  • Select the activities most suitable for your students.
  • Individual students within the group have differing needs and backgrounds. Modify or extend some aspects of suggested activities accordingly.
  • Consider and tailor lessons to cater for differing cultural perceptions of what should be taught at a certain age.
  • Undertake a comprehensive step by step process to assess any physical or psychological risks associated with an activity before using a variety of teaching strategies.
  • Enable students to withdraw if they find issues personally confronting.
  • Recognise that some students may find it difficult to contribute to class discussions and may say little in group activities. Don’t assume they are not engaged in the activities but rather provide all students with the opportunity to contribute in less public ways.

External providers

Advice when using external providers for curriculum delivery in child protection and respectful relationships education:

  • Use visiting speakers and external providers only where this adds value to existing teaching and learning practice. Principals and teachers have primary responsibility for education programs in schools.
  • As a teacher, you have expertise in teaching and learning, knowledge of your students’ needs and abilities and the ways they learn. You are skilled in developing teaching and learning programs that address the needs of students within a curriculum context.
  • Use of visiting speakers and external providers should be embedded within existing programs where learning activities and opportunities for debriefing are provided before and after the event.
  • Consider the expertise and approaches of external providers or individuals prior to the event.
  • One-off speakers or sessions, isolated from the context of a planned approach to education, will have minimal effect in enhancing students’ knowledge and skills.
  • Effective programs should involve progressive learning that is reinforced over the school years.
  • Use the Guidelines for engaging external providers for curriculum implementation (DOCX 72KB) when determining whether to use external providers to support curriculum implementation both within and beyond the school.
  • Make students aware at the beginning of PDHPE lessons that disclosing personal information that indicates they may be at risk of harm will be reported to the school principal in all instances. This includes personal disclosures related to instances of abuse, drug use, neglect or sexual activity under the legal age of consent.
  • Be aware that some parts of PDHPE can be confronting and sensitive for some students.
  • Enable students to withdraw if they find issues personally confronting to protect them from making harmful disclosures. Equally, it is important to be prepared for issues that arise as a result of a student making a public disclosure in the classroom.

Communication with the school community

Some aspects of PDHPE may be viewed as sensitive or controversial, such as learning about abuse, child protection, drugs, respectful relationships, sexual health, sexuality and violence.

Access the PDHPE communication page to find out more about communication with the school community, including sample letters and policy guidance.

Related content


  • Teaching and learning

Business Unit:

  • Educational Standards
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